SAN FRANCISCO — Over the last decade, Airbnb has upended the travel industry, riled regulators, frustrated local communities and created a mini-economy of short-term rental operators, all while spinning a warm narrative of belonging and connection.
On Thursday, Airbnb sold investors on an even unlikelier story: that it is a pandemic winner.
The company’s shares skyrocketed on their first day of trading, opening at $146 each, 115 percent above its initial public offering price of $68. That put Airbnb’s market capitalization at $101.6 billion — the largest in its generation of “unicorn” companies and more than Expedia Group and Marriott International combined.
Airbnb’s offering raised $3.5 billion, compared to DoorDash’s $3.4 billion, making Airbnb the biggest I.P.O. this year.
The blockbuster offering came a day after DoorDash, a food delivery start-up, also defied gravity on its first day of trading by surging 86 percent to a valuation of $68 billion. Both follow a string of other hot I.P.O.s that together make 2020 the busiest year for U.S. public offerings since 1999, according to Renaissance Capital, which tracks I.P.O.s.
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